Getting Started as a Health Writer
Doctors, nurses, physician assistants and therapists, among other health care providers, are often interested in health writing. Given the abundance of websites and articles on the Internet, many professionals interested in educating the public about wellness are looking towards authoring magazine articles and online articles to help educate the public about health issues. That is certainly an achievable goal that can be rewarding and enjoyable. Here are questions to the most frequently asked questions about jobs for health writers.
Are there jobs for physician medical or health writers?
There certainly are jobs for health and medical writers. Writing positions for healthcare professionals include textbook writing and editing, authoring test prep materials, professionally editing articles for peer reviewed journals, scientific writing for pharmaceutical companies and medical device companies, technical writing for health regulators, and writing health articles for online websites, magazines, and newspapers.
What are the qualifications to become a medical writer?
The majority of these jobs do not specifically require a medical degree, but they often require subject matter expertise, such as a graduate level or undergraduate degree in the health sciences. Subject matter proficiency beyond the stated job requirement is not necessarily an advantage.
The most important criterion that you will be evaluated on when you apply for a job as a medical writer is the demonstration that you can write for the publication’s target audience. If you want to get a paid job as a health or wellness writer for a public audience, you will be asked to submit writing samples that have already been published in order to show your writing skills. Getting your first few writing samples published is a crucial step in this process because your written pieces are the most important part of your application.
If you are considering applying for a medical writing job at some point in the future, it is worthwhile to work on building a portfolio that includes at least a few published writing samples in advance.
If you want a job editing scientific manuscripts or medical textbooks or journals, you should begin by authoring several peer-reviewed articles as the lead author. If you envision yourself writing health articles for a general audience, you can start by submitting articles to blogs, websites and magazines.
How can I get a job as a medical writer?
There are 2 ways to get a paid position as a medical writer.
1. Applying for a job
2. Being recruited for a job
Most professional publications use recruiters to find prospective authors who have experience in writing. Some publications list job openings for medical writers and editors on their websites under ‘employment’ or ‘jobs' or other similarly worded links. Another method of finding job openings is by searching job sites. Publishers who hire health writers are typically flooded with applications for the positions they list on job sites, and therefore they screen for the best applicants by evaluating applicants’ published work.
How should I send my writing samples?
It is a good idea to construct a CV than you can use when you apply for writing jobs. Even if you have published strong articles that prompt a recruiter to initiate contact with you, you will be asked to submit a CV if you are interested in pursuing the job offer. You can place links to your writing samples right on your CV under a heading ‘selected publications’ or ‘writing samples,’ along with the title of the article. This makes it easy for senior editors to see your articles and to get a feel for your writing style. Because there are so many applicants for medical writing jobs, positions fill quickly. Therefore, it is best to have your CV ready and waiting for an opening so you can send it right away when you see a posting for a writing job.
Building your writing sample library
A number of websites accept submissions for consideration. The health and wellness websites and blogs that you read might accept submissions from health care professionals.
You can submit an article to the Tips from Your Doctor page of nonclinicaldoctors.com, send your article here. Some popular guest written articles include How to Prevent Holiday Weight Gain and Hiding Veggies in Your Kids Food.
See tips about how to write health and wellness articles here.
You can also submit an article to the Physician Career Strategies page here.
Popular guest written articles include Physician Contract Negotiation Tips and The Dual MD/MBA.
Peter Scuccimarri, MD, FASAM, FAAFP
1/6/2019 01:33:54 pm
It is that time in my 36 years in medical clinical practice to retire. Oddly, enough what prompted my interest in Medicine over 40's years ago was work in medical writing as a Research Technician at The New York University School of Medicine, copy editing as Assistant Editor at Plenum Press in Manhattan and Associate Editor at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn Press. Other experience strictly as a writer occurred during my years as Features Editor at the New York University Heights Daily News.
1/15/2019 12:22:00 pm
8/27/2019 09:37:01 am
Course in Medical writing
4/5/2019 04:05:44 pm
I had no idea that there were writing positions in the healthcare field that focus on editing textbooks and peer-reviewed journals. My brother works for an urgent-care clinic as a nurse that has been recently asked to help write an article regarding the importance of urgent-care facilities. They may benefit from enlisting the help of an HEOR writing service to help them complete the article.
I seemed to have no indication that roles on medicine centered on publishing books and reviews reviewed by peers were to be published. My brother works as a nurse for an emergency-care facility and was recently called in to help write an essay on the value of emergency services. To help them perform the paper, they can benefit by recruiting the assistance of a Blankets content writer.
11/6/2022 07:46:14 pm
Hi great rreading your blog
1/3/2023 03:26:16 pm
Great information and to the point!
1/9/2023 10:56:16 am
Hi Nathan, Thank you for your questions. It is more difficult to find a full time position as a medical writer rght out of PA school or any type of medical school. These jobs are usually looking for people who either have a journalism degree or some type of medical experience as well as degree.
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